Saturday, July 5, 2008


The Road to Vegas

The day before felt very hectic, with nearly 500 miles of driving including within the parks. I needed to relax and spend a couple days in Vegas before heading to LA, but before I did I went to the Grand Canyon.

Now I've been here before, about 9 or 10 years ago. This was the first thing I repeated all trip (besides Atlantic City), but anyone will tell you a day at the Grand Canyon is a day well spent. I really wanted to do a strenuous hike to near the bottom of the canyon, but I didn't have the time and it was way too hot. So I instead just hiked a ways along the rim.

One cool thing I learned here was that the canyon was the United States' primary source of uranium during the Cold War era, and there was still mining equipment setup along one of the ridges.
During my trip I only saw a few cactus. I thought I would see those big ones like in the roadrunner and coyote cartoons, but all I could find were these:

Anyway, I left the Grand Canyon by about noon, in order to get to Vegas before sunset for the 4th of July fireworks. As it turned out, there was a 1.5 hour wait at Hoover Dam that I got stuck in, so it took a bit longer than I planned. But it did give me a good opportunity to prep my glow sticks for the night (which I will talk about in a second).

The water table is very low right now by Hoover Dam, as you can see:

Normally the water is up to the top of that white area in the rocks, as thats the "spill-over" level by the dam. This area is in a pretty big drought, hopefully global warming will happen soon and bring more precipitation.

Finally made it into Vegas! I am staying at a hotel just off the Strip for a couple nights to relax and have a little fun before I start work. I promised I would get back to the glow sticks, so what I was talking about was the fact that 2 summers ago for July 4th, me and a friend sold glow sticks at fireworks shows and had a lot of fun and made some good cash in the process. I still had about 1000 left over, which I intended to bring to Vegas and completely sell off during the night of fireworks shows here. Didn't go quite as planned, there was no interest in glow sticks tonight for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that people were saving their dollar for the bottled water (it is HOT here!!!), or maybe glow sticks just aren't a seller under the bright lights of the strip. Either way, I only managed to sell about 30 glow sticks and watch a short and unimpressive fireworks show before meeting up with a friend from RPI who is currently playing in the World Series of Poker. I will be watching him play a bit tomorrow, and maybe play a little low limit myself downtown (I have never been downtown).

Vegas officially marks the final coast to coast link between where I've driven in the US. It was really neat to be driving into Vegas from the East! I will be here until Sunday night or so, then heading to LA. So don't expect a blog post for another couple days.

Global warming as a solution for improving water levels at the Hoover Dam??? Yea!!! Finally a reason to keep Edison's soft incandescent light bulbs! :-)
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